Women Making History, learn how American women created, confronted, and embraced change in the 20th century while exploring ten objects from Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library.
About this course
As we approach the centennial of the passage of women’s suffrage in 1920, there has been a recent burst of activism among American women. Women are running for political office in record numbers. They are organizing and taking to the streets to demand change. Women are grappling with inclusion and intersectionality. While some of this activity may have been a response to the 2016 presidential elections, its roots lie deep in 20th-century history a history richly preserved in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library building on the library’s 75th Anniversary Exhibit.
This course exemplifies the importance of archives in the making of history. Professors Laurel Ulrich and Jane Kamensky, along with colleagues from across Harvard University and beyond, show how women in the 20th-century United States pushed boundaries, fought for new rights, and challenged contemporary notions of what women could and should do.
Through the exploration of ten iconic objects from the Schlesinger collection, they demonstrate how women created change by embracing education, adopting new technologies, and creating innovative works of art; pushing against discrimination, and stepping into new roles in public and in private.
About Schlesinger library
It would be possible to overlook the one object that brings all the other objects in the course together. That is the Schlesinger Library. The library is a physical space that has changed over the years. It’s grown and been renovated. In fact, it’s currently undergoing renovations. And not only does the physical space change over time, but so does the collection it contains. New documents and objects arrive every day. The library also has a staff dedicated to the curation and preservation of American women’s history and making it available to those who would like to study it and distribute it through academic and general public channels. Researchers return to the documents and objects within their archives over and over again with questions that are shaped by the present.
Visitors are welcome at the Schlesinger Library. The librarians are happy to help researchers and patrons to use their documents to further our understanding of women’s history. However, we know that many of you will never be in Cambridge, MA. So we hope you enjoy this short video of the library. In addition to seeing what a visitor would see, you will also get a quick glimpse of the action that happens behind the scenes.
What you will learn from Women Making History Course? Ten Objects, Many Stories.
- The many ways ordinary people have created change
- The centrality of women in American history
- How history is complex, nonlinear, and in constant conversation with the present
- How objects can embody stories of change
- Our understanding of history is shaped by which stories are told
Consider the Object:
- Take a look!
- How big?
- What are the parts?
- Get your magnifying glass.
- What were the expert’s observations?
- Did you notice anything else?
- What do you want to know about the garment
- How it ended up in the Schlesinger Library?
Objects to Explore:
Sample of directions, someone can approach the following Objects:
- Object 1. Camera
- Object 2. Garment
- Object 3. About the lei
- Object 4. Dispenser
- Object 5. Desk
- Object 6. Book
- Object 7. Small – Big
- Object 8. Garment
- Object 9. Garment
- Object 10. Art
Object videos with audio descriptions
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- Harvard University
- Online Course
- 1-3 Months
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- American History History Personal development